NABOKV-L post 0015460, Tue, 4 Sep 2007 17:56:57 -0300

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Re: [TRANS NAB] The subject of the sentence and animate objects
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Re: [NABOKV-L] [TRANS NAB] The subject of the sentence and animate objectsHello, Emily

Thank you for the clarifications. With the additional quotes from VN's work it now became easier for me to proceed.
A portal could be a book, any book actually, when the word is taken metaphorically. You mentioned that a text can function as a portal for its reader which you classified as "spatialisation of the relationship between reader and fiction". Could you write more about this aspect?

You said that within the world of Nabokov fiction portals allow magical-reslist time transitions ( temporal) and allusions to metaphysical passages ( spatial). You included, as an example of the first kind of portal, Proust's "madeleine".
I recall that Samuel Beckett, when he listed Proust's experiences with the irruption of involuntary memories, considered the original stimuli ( such as the "madeleine" or a spoon against a plate,etc) "Proust's fetishes". I prefer Beckett's choice of "fetish" and not "portal" because the madeleine, even the sound of a spoon is something "physical" or, at least, "objective" whereas the "portal" ( as some sort of opening which becomes accessible by magic words or objects) is more abstract, I suppose.
How would you differentiate these two at this level? You explained their distinction, in part, while you answered about "animate objects" ( you said the fetish and the portal were the two kinds of object you considered as "animate" in VN's work) but you also wrote "when the text is considered in the guise of fetish OR portal", as if they could be interchangeable.

Freud described "animism" as the product of an inference ( i.e: when I project some quality of my mental world onto the external world, not necessarily onto an object, and then infer that what lies outside me has qualities as "animate" as mine own). Although "portal" may be linked to hallucinatory or trance states, the "fetish" in Freud follows a different dynamic ( roughly speaking, after the splitting of the mind due to the mechanism of refusal, i.e, denying a terrifying perception, the fetish appears through an excess of value given to a surrogate object, one which had been instrumental for this denial.) so I would not consider it as easily something "animate", as it might be said of the "portal". What do you mean when you describe the dangers of animate objects, "in Nabokov's world", as making the reader "dissatisfied with some of these readings"?
You answered this question, in part, when you dealt with question 3, but you departed from the supposition that the reader does indeed "animate" the text ( "by fetishising Or making a portal of it"). I don't think every good reader runs this danger of "animating" the text, or missing out the enchantment and fun and terror it opens for him by avoiding to fantasize about "what a text 'really' signifies".
Could you explain why you associate good-reading, enchantment and "animism"?

Do my questions make any sense to you?
Jansy

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